Category Archives: Body

Deep Simplicity

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Over the three decades or so that I have been exploring life through the lens of spiritual practices, one of the most touching aspects of this exploration is how the simplest of observations come back to visit, again and again, over the years. Rather like old friends they appear, time and time again, to share their wisdom.

Sometimes, these insights have a remarkable knack of appearing so simple and obvious. So that my mind looks at them and immediately reacts with ‘ah yes’ I get that. And yet each time that they revisit they reveal a deeper truth, as if this exploration is a spiral journey that repeats itself, over and over again.

Let me share a couple of these old friends with you.

One of these insights is that we create, or at least co-create, the world that we live in. In the parlance of the Christian faith, we reap what we sow. It has been my observation of late that this is one of the most profound and penetrating truths of our existence. Right here, right now we are creating, with our thoughts, our words, our deeds and our non-deeds, the world we live in and experience each day.

Often, we may seek to avoid what is right in front of us, right under our noses, and seek to escape into other realties, other parts of the Earth, other philosophies or high-sounding spiritual paths. Yet, here in this simple truth of creation is the beginning, the middle and the end of our human experience and of our spiritual search.

A second example, is the truth that our bodies are the embodiment of enlightenment itself. An observation most eloquently expressed in the teaching of Gautama Buddha. But, isn’t enlightenment some magical state alternate consciousness, the ultimate bliss of someplace else, other than here?

Again, it’s one of those insights which seem easy to grasp intellectually, nodding our heads knowingly before moving onto the next truth. Yet here, in this humble human body, at the visceral, gut, cellular level is enlightenment, the very essence of our awakened being.

Perhaps, you too have your favourite old friends, who revisit you from time to time and share the light of their wisdom?

With Best Wishes,

© David R. Durham
The Poet Photographer

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Origins of Yoga

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This week’s Friday YouTube video link is about the Origins of Yoga.

(Copyright belongs to the video producer)

This series of four videos are by the author Georg Feuerstein PhD., who has extensively studied and written about Yoga, offers an invaluable insight into the true nature of Yoga as a spiritual discipline.

David R. Durham
Spiritual Healing & Counselling Website
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To Heal or Not to Heal?

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That is the question. Well, it is a question anyway.

It is not a question you may have pondered too much, and if you have, given the choice of experiencing healing or to not experience healing. Then I think most of us, if not all of us, would tick the ‘be healed’ box.

We humans, and I suspect many mammals, are motivated by two underlying urges: To avoid pain and to experience pleasure. And many of our decisions and actions in our lives can be tracked down to these two primal urges.

What if, we had a third view point? A view point which encompased all experience and refused to react automatically or unconsciously to it. How workable would that be? Would it be workable at all, or maybe just a little bit.

And how would the degree of pain or pleasure we are experiencing affect our decision? For instance, maybe I can resist reaching for a bottle of pain-killers when I get a mild headache. But toothache, no chance there, I’d be opening the bottle of pain-killers in a flash.

Working as a therapist, and reading some of the biographies of people who have survived extreme situations, it seems to me that different people have a remarkably different reactions to pain, and how they rate it on a scale of one to ten. There are a number of personal and cultural factors which can go some way to explaining these differences. For instance, during wartime people can and do develop a remarkable resilience to all kinds of abuse, whilst the spoiled and pampered rich-kid freaks out at the thought of a skin blemish.

So, let’s explore this third point of view, whether we consider it to be achievable, achievable only some of the time during mild experiences of pleasure or pain or just plain imaginary. What would this third point of view be like? And, would we gain or lose anything by practicing it?

The ‘I’ Consciousness:
This third point of view I have been eluding to is possible, and it is one of the primary results of many core meditation techniques. That is, becoming the observer, the unmoving witness of whatever is arising within your conscious awareness.

So what do we gain or lose by practicing this silent, accepting, meditation? A sense of calm, an awareness of what our thought processes are up to, seeing again and again just who presses our emotional buttons and how they do it and a deeper sense of who I am and what I am not.

This is all very well in the safe and protected meditation space, but what about ‘real life’ and in particular what about in the context of this article; to heal or not to heal.

Whilst the answer to the question, “To Heal or Not to Heal” may seem self-evident, there are at least two scenarios where this choice is either not possible or it is not desirable.

The first of these scenarios is where there is limited or in effect no choice. The terminal illness, the deep emotional trauma which will never fully heal or the missing limb which cannot be replaced. What then? I would suggest that any experience you have of practicing this third point of view as I have called it, would be very valuable. It would at least reduce the wasted and destructive emotional energy of denial, looking for someone or something to blame, or the pointless desire for revenge.

The second of these scenarios, is where you refuse to be dictated to by your circumstances. And, in the case of illness or injury, you refuse to be defined by your symptoms. This refusal can be particularly liberating for someone with a chronic condition of many years in duration. You know, the one everyone asks you about when they meet you. This condition is real, this is not about denying its’ existence, it is more about asserting your control and re-positioning your awareness on the bigger you.

The Bigger You:
And, there always is a bigger you.

In the silent meditation of deep contemplation, where we are encouraged to keep on letting go, keep on accepting whatever is arising in our minds and bodies. Until we let go of everything, including our desire for things to be different from how they are now, including letting go of ‘letting go’ itself. There is this you, untouched by any of this arising human experience; the good, the bad and everything in between.

In the liberating words of The Buddha Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism:

“There is an Unborn, Un-originated, Uncreated, Unformed. If these were not this Unborn, this Un-originated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from, the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible. But since there is an Unborn, Un-originated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed.”

© David R. Durham
Spirit Healer Website

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Yoga & Personality Types

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In Western cultures, many still think of physical exercise when they hear the word Yoga. These exercises are typically pictured as hyper-flexible people adopting odd looking poses, which no ‘normal’ individual could hope to emulate.

In the bigger picture, Yoga is a form of spiritual discipline. Where these physical exercises (asanas) come in, are as a means to strengthen the body so someone can sit for longer periods of time in meditation without injuring themselves.

Now, depending on how pedantic you want to be, there are a number of ways of classifying the different styles of yoga. But in broad terms there are four main categories, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga, each of which is designed to be of benefit to different personality types. In this context and in simple terms, Karma equates to action, Bhakti to love, Raja to royal and Jana to wisdom.

Karma Yoga is the way of selfless service. Bhakti Yoga for a person of with a devotional temperament. Raja Yoga is for those with mystic inclinations. And Jnana Yoga is intended for a person with rational and enquiring philosophical personality.

Yoga aims to develop a relationship with our source, whether you chose to call this source God, Supreme Consciousness, Lord etc. So whatever your personality type and starting point, the aim and the intended end result is the same.

© David R. Durham
Spirit Healer

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Beards: Psychology Of

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Beards to many people are just facial hair. Some men grow ’em, many men especially in Western societies don’t. Some folks love ’em, whilst other’s hate ’em.

There is also a curious global difference. In the West, to a large degree, people are prejudiced against beards. Whilst from the near East through to India, beards are the norm and are valued. This is partly a religious thing, where Muslims and Sikhs especially favor beards, but then again Jesus allegedly had a beard.

My theory on why beards are not acceptable in Western societies is two-fold. Firstly, there is the first world war. Due to the horrendous living conditions in the trenches, and problems with hygiene and head lice, men became short haired and clean shaven. Prior to the first world war, beards were much more common and accepted. Secondly, good old Hollywood often portrays the ‘good guy’ as clean shaven, and only ‘bad guys’ have beards.

Why do beards generate this level of emotion I wonder? And having periodically let the old facial hair grow out, I can testify to the unexpected and odd reactions to sporting a beard. After all, it’s just hair. Isn’t it?

So, I decided to do some digging around, to rustle up some different views on this subject which is dear to many and came across this fascinating video documentary. It is about six American guys who decided to grow a beard, and as a part of this experiment they created a regular video-diary of their experiences and the reactions of other people. It’s called Winter of The Beard.

Clearly there is more to sporting the old facial whiskers that meets they eye.

And, of course, there is a website decided to said beards called All About Beards

© David R. Durham
Spirit Healer Web Link
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Left Brain

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Every so often I feature a blog on the topic of diets, since our diet is intimately connected with the health of our body, mind and spirit.

For instance, a few weeks ago I featured the Okinawa Diet, and its health and longevity benefits. And one of my first blogs was on the contrasting benefits between the essential fats Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Well, I recently came across a diet book which shakes the very foundation of what it means to be human, and it offers some astounding insights into our current human condition. As you may have guessed, this diet is not about loosing weight so you can look cute in your bikini.

The book Left In The Dark, tackles the massive impact of diet change on the evolution of our human brains, no less.

A brief synopsis of this fascinating book is as follows:

• Powerful plant chemicals once abundant in ancestral forest diet modified the action of our own sex hormones
• This affected brain development and evolution, increasing brain size, changing its structure and enhancing its function
• These interconnected factors occasionally led to runaway brain expansion (a feedback loop)
• Leave the forest or lose connection with the fruit chemicals and the brain expansion stops
• In place of accelerating expansion a slow degeneration takes place, this affects one side of the brain more than the other
• Paradoxically the most damaged side driven by increasing fear slowly assumes control
• This created a complex neurological condition that has resulted in a number of serious psychological symptoms and left us virtually blind to its existence.

Needless to say, if you are curious about the human condition, this book is a highly recommended read.

Left In The Dark:
by Graham Gynn & Tony Wright

Okinawa Diet Plan

US Amazon UK Amazon Canada Amazon

© David R. Durham

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Where Is The Beginning?

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Where does our mind end and our body begin?

Where does spirit end and the physical world begin?

There are not really any satisfactory answers to these questions.

For the sake of understanding and communication, we label somethings mind and other things physical. But, you don’t have to go very far into the experience of life to know the situation is not necessarily so simple.

In the healing work of cranio-sacral therapy, for example, the intimate integration of mind, body and spirit quickly becomes palpable. A self-evident truth which becomes so obvious, that in time it hardly seems to need mentioning. It is as if we ‘knew’ it all along.

Perhaps, this phenomena is a feature of where and how we use our conscious awareness. What we focus our attention upon becomes real; it is noticed and is acknowledged. Rather like the Observer Effect from the world of physics, where an electron only has a position in space and time when it is consciously observed.

© David R. Durham

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Spring & Renewal

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Stolling through Hyde Park in the warm sunshine, it feels like spring has finally sprung in London.

After a long and cold winter, one of the coldest in some 30 years, there is an extra sense of relief and renewal as the new leaves unfold and colourful spring flowers and tree blossoms appear.

Cherry Blossoms in Hyde Park
Hyde Park

Shot with a Nikon D700 and a Nikkor 85mm (1.8) lens

Spring is one of the renewal cycles of our external world which we most welcome. An exciting part of the unfolding cycle of birth, grow and death which life expresses itself through.

Internally, we go through many such cycles everyday. Our bodies are continually renewing themselves, with cells being born and dying each hour of every day and it is said that our bodies renew themselves every seven years.

Which edition of your body are you on?

© David R. Durham

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Memory & Supplements

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Many of us can become memory challenged at different times in our life. Here are some dietary supplements which can help to improve our memory performance.

Lecithin (Phosphatidylcholine)
This can sometimes improve memory storage and retrieval abilities.

Fish Oil (Omega-3)
Is very beneficial for health in general, and helps in cell formation.

Ginkgo
This helps with blood circulation, and hence improves blood flow to the brain.

Vitamins B2, B12 & D
All assist with mental health.

Folic Acid
This improves cognitive functioning in healthy older people.

Isoflavones
These are plant hormones, for example soy is a good source.

Phosphatidylserine
These enhance memory and the ability to think straight. A good source of these are soybeans, mackerel, herring, liver, kidneys and white beans.

Sage
This is a mental stimulant and it also inhibits the enzymes which deactivate the brain’s neuro-transmitters.

A highly recommended book on this subject is:

The Essential Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements,
by Dr. Sarah Brewer

USA Books UK Books Canadian Books

 

© David R. Durham

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Reiki & Chakras

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When healing someone with reiki techniques, special emphasis is often given to our main energy centers, called chakras.

The word chakra simply means wheel or disc. And they help to store, balance and distribute energy around our bodies. There are seven main chakras which are addressed in a reiki healing session. These seven main chakras run vertically through our body’s trunk and into our neck and head.

Located at the base of our spine is the first chakra, called the Muladhara (root chakra) is our foundation and links us energetically to the earth.

The second chakra called Svadhistana (Own Dwelling Place) is located between the genitals and naval, and it is the center for our sexual energy.

Moving up our body, the Manipura (Dwelling Place of Jewels) is located in our solar plexus area and it is an energy associated with personal power.

In the centre of our chest is our heart center called the Anahata (That Which Is Ever New). This energy relates to our compassion, self-acceptance, relationships and internal balance.

The 5th of our chakras is the Vishuddha (Purest of Pure) and it is located at our throat level, and it is concerned with communication and self-expression.

In our forehead, between the eye brows lies our Ajna (Command) chakra, which is associated with our vision and imagination.

And our 7th chakra is located at the crown of our head and is called Sahasara (Thousand Petalled Lotus) and it relates to our wisdom and spiritual levels.

Reiki healing aims to unblock these chakra centers and balance the energy flows between them.
Source:
Reiki And The Seven Chakras, by Richard Ellis. 2010, Random House Press.

To learn much more and experience real reiki for yourself, Click Here for a comprehensive and fascinating online reiki masters course.

© David R. Durham

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